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OldieWeds: What to get the late bloomer boomers

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Celebrating wedding anniversaries as a late-love bride has its challenges

Celebrating a wedding anniversary as a late-love blooming, baby-booming bride has its challenges. We've been married for one year as I write this. We're not spring chickens. We can't add one more material item into our already packed-to-the-rafters house. What gift shall I give my groom? Or for those who want to give us something, what do we suggest? Being internet savvy helps, so I Googled the tables of traditional anniversary gifts and suggestions. Alas, so many of the gift recommendations are more fitting for newlyweds; younger people who are newly furnishing first-time homes. Here's my contribution of appropriate presents for middle-aged "oldieweds":

1st Wedding Anniversary --
Youthful people give each other paper hats, risqué paper lingerie, expensive lavender scented stationery. My suggestion for the older set who ties the knot? Why, Depends™ of course! Disposable adult diapers are a thoughtful gift, and useful for guests who have trouble sneezing or laughing when chuckling at the twists and turns of life. Adult diapers are also useful for any arts and crafts project you may take on in retirement; they make polishing shiny surfaces and clean-up a breeze! But of course, if you've lost your retirement account, the older couple may also enjoy a paper piñata in the shape of Bernie Madoff or, for the left-wingers, George W. Bush.

2nd Wedding Anniversary -- Cotton
For those hot young couples, 1000 thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets are just the thing! For frugal been-there, done-that oldieweds, collect cotton wads from prescription medicine bottles, wrap them up and present them to your hearing-impaired better half and tell them to stuff it in their ears when everything is SO DAMNED LOUD everywhere! Geez! Turn it down, you kids!

3rd Wedding Anniversary -- Leather
Leather pants on nice bodies? Yowza! Leather pants on us? Bow-wowza. Better to just give each other shoes that have been in the back of the closet that we forgot we had.

4th Wedding Anniversary -- Fruit
Yeah, yeah. This is obvious. Prunes are appreciated for so many of us over 50. Hardy-har-har. And no, they're NOT "dried plums," they're prunes dammit! Dried fruit people, you can call it anything you want ... but we still know what it is.

5th Wedding Anniversary -- Wood
For young couples, a new dining room set or new cabinets may be just the ticket. Wood for your older couple? Ask your doctor for free samples of Viagra or Cialis.

6th Wedding Anniversary -- Candy or Iron
What? Candy or Iron? Whose idea was that? I guess candy if the couple feels the relationship is going well, and iron if it's not? This reminds me of my mother's joke wedding shower gifts for every new bride whose shower she'd attend. She'd give the bride either a carved rolling pin or cast iron skillet with a note on it saying, "This is in case you need to make a firm impression on your husband." Hard to believe that my mother was a proponent of women's self-defense, years before I became an advocate myself.

7th Wedding Anniversary --
OK, I guess his and hers matching cashmere sweaters or a woolen bedspread would be appropriate for the people who make it through the famous "seven year itch." Geezer couples? Well, my OB-GYN told me at my last appointment that her biggest complaint comes from older women whose husbands have gone down the road to Viagra-ville and worn out their welcome with the Missus. A great gift idea: the original wool delivery system... a sheep. I know, I'm BAAAAAAAAAD.

8th Wedding Anniversary -- Bronze
Who the heck gets anything in bronze? What is bronze? I thought the bronze thing was over -- excuse the expression -- AGES ago. I suppose the senior couple could bronze their first orthopedic shoes.

9th Wedding Anniversary -- Pottery
The younger folks? How about a nice new dish set, with serving bowls, thrown by a local artist. The older folks? Oh geez, just go get some clay and do your best. Goodness knows, you could make some ashtrays for the guests that still insist on smoking even though you kick them out of the house. Give them one of your homemade pottery ashtrays to use while they shiver in your backyard.

10th Wedding Anniversary -- Tin or Aluminum
For the couple in their 30s, I suppose canisters, accessories, sculptures would be fine. For your older couple? Given the economy, and how many 401K funds have tanked, a tin cup or aluminum can for selling pencils and collecting coins would be very thoughtful.

100th Wedding Anniversary -- 10K diamond
At this point, the distinction of young and old couples is clearly moot. It seems to me that if you are able to live with one person for 100 years the most logical gift would be some type of congressional medal of honor, regardless of the materials it's made from.

I hope this helps the shopper who is pondering what to give the couple who has -- or maybe used to have -- everything. And remember, it's not the gift but the thought that counts. If only I could remember what that thought was...

OldieWeds first appeared in the Pasadena Weekly on November 12, 2009. Ellen Snortland teaches writing and coaches first-time authors. Contact her at: